Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: <i>Sleep tight, America. We got yer back...</i> .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Friday, March 04, 2005

Sleep tight, America. We got yer back...


But who is he really? It's easy enough to find out. As a megalomaniac who craves attention, he loves to blow his own horn. Try Googling him. I did, and got 14,500 hits. Most of them fall into two categories - those that praise him, and those that portray him as a total whack job.

But sift through the debris, and a picture unfolds. Up until 1999, he appeared to be a mild-mannered Kindergarten teacher at a private school in Los Angeles. Then he became fixated on a Mexican conspiracy to take over L.A. (not uncommon at the time, due to the proximity of the border and economic conditions in California), and began exhibiting erratic behavior that caused his neighbors and co-workers to avoid him. His wife became concerned because he started taking their 13 year old son to the shooting range to prepare him for an "upcoming race war".

Unable to cope with politically correct Southern California, he packed up and moved to Arizona, where a man can wear a gun on his hip and say what he wants, no matter how inane.

While camping in Arizona, he encountered migrants and what he called "paramilitary groups of drug dealers" crossing into the country. After getting no satisfaction from reporting this to park rangers and the border patrol, and his terrorist-phobia due to 9/11 (is there a clinical term for this? If not, may I suggest "terrornoia"?), he formed his own militia to patrol the border between Arizona and Mexico.

In August 2002, he bought a weekly newspaper in Tombstone, Arizona, legendary site of the shootout at the O.K. Corral. In October of that year, his paper issued a "call to arms" to protect us from the alien invasion from the south. In December 2002, he issued a challenge: "I dare the President of the United States to arrest me". He also warned federal authorities "not to interfere".

Needless to say, he was arrested in January 2003. Although he claimed he was hiking at the time, he was detained for carrying a loaded weapon on national park land, and was accused of "hunting for Mexicans" inside the park. Among his posessions were walkie-talkies, a police scanner, a camera, and what appeared to be a toy plastic figure of Wyatt Earp on his horse.

He claims that he was targeted because of his political activism and that the arresting officer, who was Hispanic, said "we don't like your kind". Gee, imagine that. An Arizona backcountry law enforcement officer speaking her mind. Whodathunkit?

In 2003 he issued a "message to the world", warning: "Do not attempt to cross the border illegally; you will be considered an enemy of the state; if aggressors attempt to forcefully enter our country they will be repelled with force if necessary!"

Which brings us to our vacation tip of the day. If you were planning on visiting southern Arizona during April this year, you might want to choose another destination. There's a plan afoot to man the borders with volunteers to apprehend border crossers beginning April 1st and lasting throughout the month. Chances are there will be more media there than volunteers, and fewer still illegal immigrants. But if any incidents do occur, there'll be shooting aplenty, both with firearms and cameras.

To the Arizona tourism industry - I'm sorry. But when your industry and culture promotes violence, you gotta expect this. Sure, shootout re-enactments attract crowds. But if they also attract the kind of people who want to act out their fantasies in real live shootouts, is that really a good thing for your economy? Just a thought.

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